Career Story – Martin Kammandel (Legal Tech Engineer at Kliemt.Arbeitsrecht)
How I became a Legal Tech Engineer
Ask yourselves: how many legal tech engineers do you know? Not a large number, most likely. Though it is not a very common profession to choose, it is an upcoming and important one. Let me tell you why – and how to get there.
My journey within the law firm world started in 2016 when I had just graduated from university with my LL.M.. Having studied law and political science with an international focus, I never had the specific plan to work for a law firm but rather to work within any kind of international organisation. Nevertheless, after having received a job offer from a law firm I decided to give it a try and thought that it would be good to have some work experience in the private sector before working for public institutions. I can tell you that this has been a really good choice!
Therefore, I started as an economic lawyer (which is something between a paralegal and a normal lawyer in Germany) for two big American law firms in Germany in competition law and M&A. I realised that I really liked using the latest available technologies and explaining the effective use of new functions to other colleagues. That is how I quickly became the colleague to ask when there was any kind of technical question or issues with Microsoft Office or other programs. Bit by bit, I realized how important an efficient use of these technologies could be for the daily business of law firms and I started to get more and more involved in legal tech activities. Luckily, I had the chance to dive deep into legal tech work by attending lots of legal tech conferences and developing strategies and tools.
During this period I really came to understand how important it was for law firms to react to the changes driven by digitisation, not only from a technological point of view but also in relation to the whole law firm structure (thinking about Legal Operations and new ways of providing legal services). I then decided that it was time to focus solely on what really drives me, namely legal tech, and get rid of the rest of the ordinary legal work. So, I started working officially as a legal tech engineer at Kliemt.Arbeitsrecht in Düsseldorf – which has been a really good choice.
What I do as legal tech engineer: from daily engineering to strategy development
Here at Kliemt, I often find myself being asked by my colleagues what I’m doing. Usually, I answer in the same way: I’m helping my colleagues to find alternative technical solutions to their daily work-related problems, like an in-house digital consultant specialising in the legal sector. From my experience in law I know the ways in which lawyers work well and what they struggle with. My knowledge of sales, politics/PR etc. enables me to create and promote solutions which are easy to use and have a positive impact on the work of my colleagues.
Together with a small group of lawyers and non-legal staff we are further developing Kliemt’s legal tech strategy. This combines a lot of different, very interesting tasks: we identify new use cases, scan the legal tech market for new products and with our software at hand we build tools for internal and external use, through which we automate legal decisions and processes as well as legal documents. Creating new tools always requires an extensive process, starting with a good idea and forming a strategy of how to implement it, followed by hours of programming and several sessions with colleagues to present the project progress. In the end we have a proper new tool ready to use. What I really enjoy is that within this process you work together with many different people from IT, Marketing and the lawyers, of course, which makes every project a new and interesting challenge.
Besides the development of new solutions we also educate our colleagues in the use of the tools and new developments in legal tech topics e.g. by conducting legal tech workshops, publishing internal legal tech newsletters and conducting brainstorming sessions for new tool ideas. All in all, it is a diverse job which combines many interesting activities.
How to get into legal tech: some advice
To make it clear: there is not just one way to work in legal tech – which is also shown by my background. Many of the people with similar jobs have studied law and have a passion for technology, but there is a lot of potential for rather exotic career paths. So, if you consider working in this field you should be someone who is interested in technology with an understanding of law plus being open minded in the sense of willing to learn new approaches to solve problems. Knowing how to code is not a requirement, but it helps to understand the logic and the process of product development. Working in legal tech means working as an interface between lawyers and other business functions including marketing and IT. I generally suggest getting to know as many people as possible who are working with technology in different sectors in order to comprehend how experts in their specific sectors solve problems. Legal tech is a fascinating field to work in and I encourage anyone who is thinking about starting his/her career in it, as it offers you many different options. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me!
Legal Tech Engineer